Reflections & Insight

Psychological Aspects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Psychological factors play a major part in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Stress influences motility, secretion and vascularity of the gastrointestinal tract and may produce functional disorders. Stressful events, which in childhood might be family tensions, separation or major changes such as that of school or house, may aggravate or even cause IBD physical symptoms of the disease. These stressors can be distressing and can lead to anxiety and even behavior problems. Stress and distress can themselves produce physical symptoms and aggravate pre-existing organic pathology, while behavior problems such as non-compliance with treatment or diet can aggravate the organic pathology and/or the physical symptoms so setting up and maintaining a vicious circle. Not only the child, but also his family is affected. Taking into account the complex interaction between psychosocial and organic aspects of IBD, a comprehensive approach is essential for optimal care of the child with IBD and his family.

PMID: 3765643 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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